- Damian Priest © def Jeff Hardy (WWE United States Championship) – **¾
- Shayna Baszler def Dana Brooke – ¾*
- Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo def Mansoor & Mustafa Ali – **¼
- Big E & Drew McIntyre def The Dirty Dawgz – **½
- Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley © def Natalya & Tamina (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship) – **¼
- New Day def Hurt Business – **
- Bianca Belair def Charlotte Flair via DQ – **¾
We kick off this week’s show with the SmackDown Women’s Champions Becky Lynch coming down to the ring and she spoils the first draft pick of the night by revealing that it is her. Becky then talks about how she never lost the Raw Women’s Championship and since she has always been better than Charlotte maybe it’s time she becomes Becky Two Belts once again. Charlotte Flair comes to the ring and talks about how she made Becky famous as before her she was known as Becky pre-show and says that Becky is always going to look up to her because she is the most decorated woman in sports entertainment.
Bianca Belair comes out to join the party as she has unfinished business with the both of them after what happened on SmackDown and then says they are not ready for her to become the EST of Raw. Charlotte disrespects Bianca by telling her to shush while the champions are talking but Biana is quick to remind her that she doesn’t go there anymore and then tells Becky she better get Charlotte because she doesn’t know her. We get a back and forth between Bianca and Charlotte while Becky stands back and throws out little remarks to stir the pot and eventually even suggests they face each other since they never have before (they have on NXT) but Charlotte says she gives out opportunity, not charity. Bianca pulls off her earrings getting ready for a fight but before anything can happen we get Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville coming out and they make the Bianca vs Charlotte match official for the main event.
We fast forward to the main event and we get a really good match between Bianca and Charlotte as expected, but with all good matches it had to end in a DQ when Becky leaves commentary to pull Bianca out of the ring and then she hits her with the Manhandle Slam, but as Becky has her back turned Sasha Banks attacks and hits Becky with a backstabber. Sasha stands tall to end this episode of Raw. It was nice to see the women both open and close the show tonight, I have to say that both Becky and Sasha were rocking some nice gear tonight.
Before we go to the first match of the night we get the first round of night two of the draft and we get it confirmed that Becky is indeed coming to Raw and joining her in this round will be Bobby Lashley, while SmackDown keeps The Usos and Sasha Banks. On SmackDown they were really making it seem like The Usos fate would be a bigger story on the show, but I guess those plans changed over the weekend.
Our first match sees Jeff Hardy challenging Damian Priest for the United States Championship and they have a banger of a match which sees Priest pick up the win after he catches Hardy in a crucifix pin after Hardy lands the Swanton Bomb. After the match, Hardy is interviewed in the ring and he says that while he has enjoyed his time on Raw going to SmackDown may be the perfect opportunity to see another side of Hardy, perhaps another ego. I have to imagine this other ego is Willow as it was rumored a while back that the Willow character could be coming to WWE. Austin Theory comes out and says he is a big fan of Hardy and wants to know if her can take a selfie which Hardy agrees to and after taking the picture Theory lays Hardy out with a TKO and then takes another selfie beside the fallen body of Hardy. I never thought for a second that Theory was not going to hit Hardy as outside of being a complete dork in The Way we have yet to see Theory portrayed as a babyface in the WWE and I didn’t expect that to be any different this time.
We get an interview with RK-Bro and after some rambling by Riddle about skinless snakes in the sun we get Orton challenging Omos for a match tonight. RK-Bro comes out later and Orton wants to know of Omos has accepted his challenge or if he is just going to be AJ Styles’ bitch. AJ Styles and Omos come to the ring and Styles talks about how he and Omos are going to win the tag titles back at Crown Jewel and then he is going to gloat about it every week. Omos takes the mic and just when he is fixing to give Orton his answer we see Orton attack Styles and he hits Styles with an RKO before Omos can get his hands on him. RK-Bro walk up the ramp as Omos looks on from the ring seething.
We then get our second round of draft picks as Raw picks up Seth Rollins and keeps Damian Priest while SmackDown keeps Nakamura and Rick Boogs and picks up Sheamus. The Seth Rollins pick was pretty predictable once Becky was picked for Raw as they made sure to keep all of the couples together this year. It will be interesting to see if they immediately pair Sheamus and Cesaro back up either as a team or as opponents seeing as they work so well together. I think the best idea is to turn Sheamus babyface so he can feud with Reigns as the number of main event guys on SmackDown after the draft is very few.
We get a match between Shayna Baszler and Dana Brooke that doesn’t last long before Shayna chokes out Dana. After the match, Shayna looks to do the same to Dana as she has done to both Eva Marie and Nia Jax but before she can stomp on the arm Doudrop runs out to make the save. I am down for a Shayna vs Doudrop feud as that feels very fresh and new.
We get a quick match that sees Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo beat the team of Mansoor and Mustafa Ali.
It’s time for the third round of draft picks and in this round Raw keeps AJ Styles and Omos and picks up Kevin Owens while SmackDown picks up Shayna Baszler and from NXT Xia Li. I really think SmackDown could’ve used Styles and Omos over on their show as they are lacking top-tier guys. I feel at this point it doesn’t matter where KO lands up as he has done everything there is to do in the company and unless they give him one last run at the top he is really going to be treading water until his contract is up next year. Both Shayna and Xia are great additions to the SmackDown women’s roster although there are a few women down in NXT that I would prefer to see be brought up before Xia.
Big E comes to the ring and talks about how he is happy to be staying on Raw but is bummed out that his New Day brothers have been drafted to SmackDown and they are once again on separate brands. Big E moves on to talk about how he had a grueling match against Lashley last week which he came out as the winner of, but he didn’t even get a minute to breathe before Drew McIntyre came out to declare himself as Big E’s next challenger so he wants McIntyre to come out and speak his mind.
McIntyre says before he goes to SmackDown he wants another shot at the WWE Championship seeing as he was unable to challenge while Lashley was champion. McIntyre says he is not going to say anything negative about Big E as he deserves to be WWE Champion and he wanted to wait and congratulate Big E on his win face-to-face and then he shakes Big E’s hand. McIntyre formally challenges Big E but before he can accept they are interrupted by The Dirty Dawgz. Dolph Ziggler goes on a rant about how he made both Big E and McIntyre relevant in the past when he was tagging with them and all he wants is just a Thank You but instead, McIntyre makes fun of Robert Roode and he says he is a better friend than both Big E and Drew McIntyre and then says people call him “Big Bob” but Big E insists nobody calls him that. Big E says what he and McIntyre actually owe Ziggler is an ass-whooping and that leads to a tag match being made.
We get a fun tag match that sees Big E and McIntyre pick up the win after McIntyre tags himself in and hits Ziggler with a Claymore. After the match, Big E hits a Big Ending on Roode and then gets in McIntyre’s face and tells him that he can have a title shot at Crown Jewel.
We go to the back where Reggie approaches Adam Pearce saying he heard he was wanting to see him about the draft, but Pearce says that is not the case and then excuses himself. Reggie then realizes something is up and goes to leave but is cut off by The Viking Raiders and then we see R-Truth, Drew Gulak, Drake Maverick, and Jaxson Ryker all trying to catch Reggie but he avoids them all. Reggie runs into Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez and Apollo says it’s good to see him as he runs off and Apollo reassures Azeez that moving to Raw would be exciting.
Kevin Owens comes to the ring and grabs a mic but before he can even speak a word Akira Tozawa runs down wanting a match against Reggie but instead receives a Stunner from KO instead.
It’s time for the fourth round of the draft where Raw gets The Street Profits and Finn Balor while SmackDown gets The Viking Raiders and Ricochet. Not much to say for this round other than I’m sure we are going to be seeing plenty of lengthy Finn Balor matches which is not a bad thing.
Nikki and Rhea get a promo where Nikki says they are going to retain their titles tonight against Natalya and Tamina and they are going to hand out plenty of Pows, Bangs, Biffs, and every other onomatopoeia along the way. We get a decent match between these two teams that sees Nikki and Rhea pick up the win after Rhea hits a Riptide and Nikki dives off Rhea’s shoulders with a splash for the pin. So, after seeing what happened in the post Raw portion of the draft I have come to the conclusion that they need to just deactivate the women’s tag titles because it’s clear they don’t give two shits about them as they decided to break up the only other two tag teams through the draft as both Natalya & Tamina and Noz and Shotzi are on separate brands. What pisses me off the most is that Nox and Shotzi beat Natalya and Tamina three damn times and after teasing the fans multiple times that they were going to get a title shot they never did and now they split them apart without ever giving them a shot to succeed. I would prefer there be no tag titles rather than having them and not giving a shit about them because that just leads to infuriating situations like the one with Nox and Shotzi.
Round five of the draft sees Raw keeping both Karrion Kross and Alexa Bliss while SmackDown gets to keep Cesaro and also picks up the team of Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo. I guess Alexa isn’t going to be gone quite as long as expected given that she was drafted as I was fully expecting her to be a free agent. The only way I would forgive what they did to Nox and Shotzi is if they team up my girls of Alexa and Liv and have them win the titles.
Seth Rollins is happy to be back on Raw as he looks to finish his thing with Edge on SmackDown (even though they will both be on Raw as well) and then he doesn’t give a shit who steps to him as he is on a new level as a visionary and a revolutionary.
New Day gets a quick win over Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander and after the match, the Street profits come out to celebrate and remind us they are now on Raw.
Our final round of the draft on Raw sees Raw pick up Carmella and in a very surprising pick they get Gable Stevenson and then SmackDown keeps Sami Zayn and they pick up a powerhouse from NXT in the form of Ridge Holland. I am guessing Stevenson is learning at a rapid rate as he gets to skip NXT.2.0 and come straight to Raw and I hope we end up with a feud between Stevenson and Chad Gable. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be long before we saw Ridge Holland as he has star written all over him and has impressed during his time in NXT.
Goldberg makes his way to the ring and of course, he reminds us about Lashley attacking his son and finds it bullshit that Lashley still claims it was accidental as he is insistent that it was intentional. Goldberg calls Lashley to the ring so he can intentionally break his neck, Lashley comes out and says Goldberg must be delusional to think he would come in there and risk ruining his custom made suit just to whoop his ass once again, Lashley then makes fun of the fashion of Goldberg saying he is still dressed like its 1998. Lashley wants Goldberg to apologize for accusing him of intentionally harming Gage. Lashley says he will give him the match he wants at Crown Jewel but under one condition, the match has to be No Holds Barred and this gets Goldberg to drop to his knees to thank Lashley as that was just what he wanted as it gives him a license to kill. Goldberg says the apology he will give is to Lashley’s kids after he leaves their father lifeless in the middle of the ring gasping for air. Goldberg says Lashley is not only Next but he is Dead. We see Benjamin and Alexander try to jump Goldberg but he easily throws them off and stares down Lashley.
Wow, Goldberg had better hope something horrible doesn’t happen to Lashley as he would be the number one person of interest with all these death threats he has been hurling at him over the past few weeks, and hopefully, Goldberg doesn’t accidentally make good on those threats as he did nearly kill Undertaker when he dropped him on his head so it’s not completely out of the norm.
I thought this was a fine episode of Raw but at the same time, I was ready for it to be over as I was ready to go to bed as I had been up since 3 AM, so while I enjoyed the show for the most part I started nodding off around that final hour.
NXT 2.0 Results
- Mandy Rose w/ Toxic Attraction def Ember Moon – **¼
- LA Knight def Odyssey Jones – **
- Joe Gacy def Ikeman Jiro – **
- Cora Jade w/ Trey Baxter def Franky Monet w/ Robert Stone – *½
- Pete Dunne w/ Ridge Holland def Cameron Grimes – **¾
- Tony D’Angelo def Malik Blade – **¼
- Indi Hartwell w/ Persia Pirotta def Mei Ying w/ Boa – *¼
- MSK © def Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen, Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams, & The Grizzled Young Veterans (NXT Tag Team Championship – Elimination Match) – ***¼
We open this week’s show with action from the women’s division as Ember Moon takes on Mandy Rose who is joined by Toxic Attraction. Mandy grabs a couple of headlocks which Ember keeps fighting out of and then she takes Mandy down with a back elbow, after Ember mocks Mandy she sends her into the ropes and Mandy comes back with a slap to the face. Ember fires up and backs Mandy into the corner with forearms and then she puts her in a tree of woe where she delivers a series of kicks and as the referee backs Mandy away we see Gigi and Jacy unhooking the leg of Mandy and then they pull her out of the ring. Ember takes Jacy down with a tope suicida and then catches Mandy with a powerbomb on the apron and then she rolls Mandy back into the ring. Ember shoves Gigi on her butt and goes to get back in the ring, but is met with a running forearm as she steps through the ropes, and then Mandy hits an inverted gutwrench suplex for a 2 count. Mandy hits Ember with a snapmare into the middle of the ring and then locks in a bodyscissors which Ember eventually escapes but Mandy puts her in a cobra twist which Ember fights out of as well. Ember catches Mandy with a discus elbow and an enziguri. Ember rolls Mandy out of the corner and comes off the middle rope with a lungblower and she follows that up with a knee to the face. Ember goes back up top but has to dive over Mandy as she has gotten back to her feet, but as Ember charges at her she is met with the running knee from Mandy and that is enough to pick up the win.
This was a decent little match to further establish Mandy as a threat as she now has a win over a former NXT Women’s Champion.
We get a video from Legado del Fantasma and they talk about how Hit Row being drafted to SmackDown saved their asses and Escobar wants a North American Championship match and during a promo later in the night Swerve accepts the challenge and we find out that match will be happening next week.
Next up is LA Knight vs Odyssey Jones after Knight beatdown Jones in a backstage segment last week. Knight tries to avoid being cornered by Jones and eventually gets in a few punches, but Jones finally catches Knight and throws him into the corner where he hits him with an avalanche and then biels him across the ring a couple of times and that is enough to cause Knight to roll out of the ring for a breather. Jones stalks Knight around the ring which forces Knight to go back in the ring where he hits Knight with a shoulder block, but Knight catches Jones with a dropkick to the knee sending Jones face-first into the turnbuckle. Knight chokes Jones across the middle rope and then catches him with a running knee to the head, Knight continues to stay on Jones with kicks and punches and then tries to lift Jones but that ends up being a bad move as his back gives out causing Jones to fall on top of him. Jones makes a fiery comeback as he nails Knight with punches, a body attack, and a one-handed gutbuster. We then see Andre Chase get on the apron to distract Jones and after Jones knocks him back down to the floor he is hit with a jumping neckbreaker and after Chase pushes Jones’ foot away from the ropes Knight is able to pick up the 3 count.
Cameron Grimes is interviewed and he talks about all the love going around the NXT 2.0 locker room and then says he wants to find himself a special lady as well. Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland walk up to criticize Grimes about his love life but Grimes isn’t paying them any attention which doesn’t sit well with Dunne and he challenges Grimes to a match which he accepts. Grimes then walks over to a couple of ladies and starts putting his Cameron Grimes charm to use.
We go to the back where Kyle O’Reilly walks up to Von Wagner and wants to know why he came to his rescue last week, Wagner says he saw an opportunity and took it and then says he respects O’Reilly because he has heart. O’Reilly appreciates the sentiment but says after what has happened to him this year he doesn’t trust anyone and would prefer to handle his own business.
Tommaso Ciampa comes to the ring and announces that NXT 2.0 is bringing back Halloween Havoc on 10/26 so he wants to know who has the balls to step up and challenge him for his NXT Championship. Bron Breakker comes to the ring as expected and he says he has shown Ciampa nothing but respect since debuting in NXT, but regardless of how long he has been there, he wants a shot at the NXT Championship. Breakker says if Ciampa is looking for someone with balls he has the biggest balls in the locker room and then he officially challenges Ciampa to a match at Halloween Havoc. Ciampa says that Breakker may want the NXT Championship but he needs it because for Breakker it is a stepping stone to much bigger and better things in the future whereas for him it is the biggest and best thing. Ciampa says that Breakker has three weeks to go from an intern to a P.H.D. and accepts the challenge.
Given the giant push he has been given and how much the fans have taken to him I think we could be seeing a new NXT Champion come 10/26 especially if they want to cement this show as a developmental brand as a newbie like Breakker would be the perfect person to become the first champion of this new era of NXT.
We get a promo from Joe Gacy who is sitting in a dark room and he talks about how he is the voice of a righteous and inclusive generation and he knows that NXT 2.0 will never crash like Facebook. He says tonight he will prove conflict can be resolved peacefully and that there can be two winners.
We see Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta walking backstage talking about Indi’s honeymoon where she talks about how they went through two packets of condoms and the reason he isn’t there tonight is that she wore him out and then says he is a 9 ½ . They then see smoke billowing out of a room and when they open the door they see that it’s Tian Sha and Boa slams the door in their face. Persia says that is weird but Indi says she has seen way weirder.
We then go to our next match which is Ikeman Jiro vs Joe Gacy. Gacy offers a handshake as the bell rings and when Jiro accepts it we see that Gacy was being genuine as he doesn’t use it as a way to lure Jiro in for an attack. Jiro is sent into the ropes and hits a shoulder block which doesn’t budge Gacy and this leads to Gacy motivating Jiro to try again, but when he runs to the ropes Gacy tries for a clothesline which Jiro ducks and then he counters a hip toss with an arm drag and then he takes Gacy down with a hurricanrana. Gacy smiles as he gets back to his feet and offers another handshake and this time he uses it to whip Jiro into the corner where he hits him with a clothesline. Gacy fires away with punches and a vertical suplex and then he sends Jiro into the ropes where he takes him down with a back elbow. Gacy goes for a slam but Jiro slides out the back and hits an inverted DDT followed by a neck twist. Jiro hits a series of jacket punches and a discus clothesline but then runs into a boot from Gacy in the corner. Jiro comes back with a kick as Gacy is on the middle rope and then hits him with a springboard headscissors off the top. Jiro goes for the running kick out of the corner, but Gacy ducks and then hits Jiro with the handspring clothesline for the win. After the match, Gacy helps Jiro to his feet and then gives him a hug showing what he meant earlier about there being two winners. Gacy walks back towards the entrance when he looks over to his left and sees a mysterious bald guy standing in the bleachers and this elicits a smile from Gacy.
I get what they are going for with this Gacy character but it’s just not doing anything for me personally and given that WWE seemed to be happy with all the mainstream press it got them both good and bad I don’t expect them to back away from the gimmick anytime soon. I had no clue who the guy was standing in the bleachers but thanks to Twitter I found out it was a shaved-headed Parker Boudreaux, but to be completely honest the first thing that came to mind as soon as I saw him was that he looks like a white supremacist skinhead which should be the arch-enemy of the character that Gacy is portraying but knowing WWE they will probably put them together as a team.
We get a vignette for Duke Hudson who is now a poker player for some reason.
We get the debut of NXT 2.0’s newest and cutest member of the women’s roster Cora Jade and she is set to take on Virginia Ferry, but before the match starts Ferry is pulled out of the ring and attacked by Franky Monet and she will now be the one to face Cora Jade in her debut.
Franky is still pissed off from losing last week and she is looking to take it out on Cora as she takes her down with a clothesline right away and then she catches her with a couple of running back elbows. Franky takes Cora into the corner where she puts the boots to her and then she whips her hard into the opposite corner which causes Cora to fall down to a seated position and Franky hits her with the double knee attack. Trey Baxter comes down to encourage his girlfriend as Franky slams her face-first into the mat and then attempts to lock in a Mexican surfboard, Cora is able to kick her off momentarily but Franky comes back with a seated chinlock, and then she stomps her face-first into the mat with a curb stomp as Baxter looks on worried. Cora sidesteps a charge into the corner and lands a knee to the face, but Franky comes back with a hellacious spear that splits Cora in half. Franky lifts Cora up for the Glam Slam, but Cora counters it into a roll-up and she is able to pick up the win in a huge upset as Franky’s losing streak continues.
I like that they decided to have Cora beat an established name rather than a jobber as it gives her instant credibility and also sets up an automatic feud with Franky as it is clear she isn’t going to let this loss roll off her back. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a Franky & Robert Stone vs Cora Jade & Trey Baxter match down the road. I absolutely love the skater girl gimmick that Cora has as it really sets her apart from everyone else on the WWE roster, although I am not looking forward to the thousands of AEW fans that are going to say they ripped off Darby Allin. I think it’s safe to say that between Cora Jade, Skye Blue, and Julia Hart the future of both super talented and super cute women in wrestling isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
MSK are interviewed about their match tonight which has turned from an 8-man tag to a 4-way tag for the NXT Tag Team Championship and I felt like I missed something because I didn’t see or hear this happening anywhere before or during the show. Grizzled Young Veterans come up and are complaining about the 4-way as they don’t want to lose the match when someone else gets beat, so MSK suggests they make the match elimination-style. We then get a big brawl between all four teams and they have to be broken up by referees.
Tommaso Ciampa is being interviewed about his Halloween Havoc match against Bron Breakker when Joe Gacy walks up and he is offended that Ciampa only offered a match to people with balls and talks about how he is the voice of those struggling to be heard and he wants to be included in a chance at the NXT Championship, so Ciampa says next week they can have a match and if Gacy wins he can be added to the match at Halloween Havoc. Gacy goes to hug Ciampa, but Ciampa stops him and tells him next week the ring won’t be a safe space for him.
Up next is Pete Dunne vs Cameron Grimes.
Grimes goes low to pick the leg only for Dunne to grab a headlock, but Grimes quickly reverses into a wristlock only for that to be reversed and Grimes is taken to the mat where Dunne tries for some joint manipulation but Grimes gets back to his feet and after throwing Dunne off he hits him with a hurricanrana. Grimes taunts Dunne which pisses him off so he takes Grimes down with a single leg but Grimes comes back with an arm drag into an armbar but Dunne fights back to his feet and after a drop-down and leapfrog spot, Dunne takes Grimes down with a clothesline. Dunne goes to work on the arm of Grimes as he hits a bicep stomp and then wraps the arm around the bottom rope and stomps on it. Grimes tries to make a comeback with some big punches but Dunne puts that to a halt as he takes Grimes down with an arm wringer. Dunne hits a seated Grimes with a dropkick to the back of the head but Grimes makes a comeback minutes later when he dodges a running kick in the corner and then delivers a couple of running forearms followed by a running dropkick in the corner. Grimes goes up top and connects with a crossbody for a 2 count.
Grimes goes for the deadlift German suplex but Dunne elbows out of it and connects with the running kick in the corner he was looking for earlier and he follows that up by hitting a knee drop on the arm and then hits a snap German suplex followed by a stomp on the hands and finally a roundhouse kick to the head, but all of that isn’t enough to keep Grimes down. Dunne tries for a cross armbar but Grimes is able to get to his feet and escape the hold and then he hits a backflip into a deadlift German suplex for a 2 count. Grimes lifts Dunne to his feet and hits him with a forearm and as Dunne rebounds off the ropes Grimes goes for a spinning kick, but Dunne ducks and catches Grimes with an enziguri. Dunne starts to remove the turnbuckle pad to distract the referee so Ridge Holland can hit Grimes with his baton, but before he has a chance he is attacked by Kyle O’Reilly until Dunne runs over and throws O’Reilly across the announce table. Grimes throws Dunne back in the ring and looks to hit the Cave In, but Dunne propels Grimes over his head causing him to hit throat-first on the top rope, and then Dunne hits the Bitter End to finally put Grimes away and pick up the win. After the match, O’Reilly is back to attack Dunne once again until Holland pulls him off and hits him with a headbutt to the back of the head and then hits him with the Emerald Flowsion.
This was a fun match and was clearly the best match on the show up to this point. We see later that Von Wager came out during the break to help O’Reilly to the back and as O’Reilly is in the training room Von Wagner tells him they have a tag match next week against Dunne and Holland. Wagner tells him that whether O’Reilly likes it or not he is the only person who has his back.
We then go to the debut match of Tony D’Angelo and he will be taking on Malik Blade. D’Angelo comes out wearing a tracksuit and as he enters the ring he tries to slip some money to the referee in order to bribe him but the referee wants no part of it.
D’Angelo grabs a headlock which he keeps on despite Blade’s best efforts and eventually, he releases the hold and clubs Blade in the back, and then takes him down with a shoulder block. D’Angelo blocks a single-leg attempt and goes back to the headlock where he smacks Blade in the head a couple of times before being sent into the ropes where he catches Blade in mid-air during a leapfrog and hits him with a backbreaker. D’Angelo drives his shoulder into the back of Blade and then catches him with a straight punch coming out of the corner D’Angelo pulls Blade up by his ear and talks some trash but Blade fires back with forearms and a dropkick which sends D’Angelo out to the floor. Blade chases D’Angelo around the ring and is taken down as he tries to get back into the ring. Blade tries to elbow out of a reverse bear hug but ends up getting shoved into the corner sternum-first. D’Angelo tries a cobra twist but Blade fights out of it and after dodging D’Angelo he connects with a jumping spin kick and then connects with a running clothesline in the corner and then he goes up top where he connects with a crossbody for a 2 count. D’Angelo tries to beg off but as Blade approaches him he grabs the tights and sends him face-first into the turnbuckles and he follows that up with a big belly-to-belly suplex. D’Angelo hits a really cool Northern Lights Suplex which he rolls through into a spinning Fisherman’s Neckbreaker for the win.
I thought this was a fine debut but other than the finisher I didn’t see anything that special about Tony D’Angelo and his gimmick feels like something straight out of the cheesy 1980s or 1990s eras of WWE and just feels completely out of place in 2021. I actually thought Malik Blade looked more impressive than D’Angelo did and I hope we get to see more of him in the future. It looks like next week Tony D’Angelo will be a guest on Lashing Out with Lash Legend as he promises that if she puts him on the show she will get more viewers.
Our next match sees Indi Hartwell who is accompanied by Persia take on Mei Ying with Boa. Indi wisely takes off her wedding ring during the entrance and hands it over to Persia.
Indi tries to go for a lockup but gets slapped in the chest and is then thrown to the side and then Indi goes for a waistlock but Mei escapes and flips Indi to the mat. Indi goes for a headlock but is sent into the ropes and when she comes back with a shoulder block Mei doesn’t move so Indi tries for a second one but gets hit with an uppercut knocking her to the mat. Mei chops Indi in the corner and then applies a nerve hold which Indi fights out of and then Indi tries for a kick but gets caught and is hit with a ripcord clothesline. Mei apples the death grip and even keeps it on while Indi gets out of the ring and she uses it to shove Indi into the ring post. Mei looks for a running kick but Persia pushes Indi out of the way at the last second and ends up getting hit with the kick. Indi shoves Mei into the ring post and then she rolls Mei back in the ring, Indi hits a springboard elbow drop and that is enough to pick up the win. I didn’t think this match was all that great.
We get a really good video narrated by Malcolm Bivens where he talks about each member of The Diamond Mine and what they bring to the group.
Raquel Gonzalez marches to the ring and she is not happy about being attacked by Toxic Attraction last week. Raquel says that Mandy must be insane to step to her as she has been dominating the women’s division for nearly a year and then she lets Mandy know that the title isn’t just a fashion accessory it means you are the best in the business. Raquel says that if Mandy thinks what Sarray did to her was bad just touch her NXT Women’s Championship again and Mandy will be fitted for a full-body cast. Toxic Attraction comes out and Mandy calls Raquel desperate and her threats don’t phase them. Mandy says Toxic Attraction is taking over and not even the dominant Raquel Gonzalez can slow them down. Gigi says it’s not Raquel’s fault it’s just that the women in Toxic Attraction are championship material and Raquel can’t help but stand in awe at them. Raquel says the only thing she can’t help standing in awe of are the six staples put in her head after Raquel bashed her in the head with the title. Gigi storms off and stands at ringside.
Jacy says that not only is Raquel desperate but she is jealous as the three of them have been shown on commercials during Raw and SmackDown as the faces of the women’s division and before long they will hold all the women’s gold in NXT 2.0 seeing as they are the top attraction. Mandy and Jacy join Gigi at ringside as they surround the ring and then Mandy tells them they should have some fun. Toxic Attraction gets up on the apron surrounding Raquel, but before they can do anything we see Io Shirai and Zoey Stark slide into the ring to even the odds and Toxic Attraction think twice about attacking and head back up the aisle as all three of the champions in NXT’s women’s division stand tall.
Toxic Attraction continues to impress me every time they are on the show and I feel that just like with Bron Breaker we could be seeing a new champion whenever the Raquel vs Mandy match happens as there is nothing left for Raquel to do as champion and it’s time for a new champion and I will go on record saying that by the end of the year all three members of Toxic Attraction will have gold around their waist.
We see the women’s champions backstage and Raquel says she didn’t ask for their help but Io lets her know that she doesn’t like Toxic Attraction more than she doesn’t like her and before things get hostile Zoey steps in between them. Indi and Persia walk up and tell Io and Zoey they won’t be champions for much longer and with this Raquel makes her exit, Indi says that Toxic Attraction isn’t the only team they have to worry about. Zoey reminds Indi that they beat The Way to win the tag titles, but Persia says there is some new blood in the water. Io tells them the only gold they will be wearing is on Indi’s hand and on Persia’s ears.
It’s time for the main event as MSK defends their NXT Tag Team Championship in a four-way elimination tag match against Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen, Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams, and The Grizzled Young Veterans.
Wes Lee starts the match out with Zack Gibson and we get Gibson taking Lee down and then we get a double knuckle lock which leads to Lee propelling himself up and he catches Gibson in a sunset flip. Gibson tries to sweep the leg of Lee but he backflips out of the way and then grabs a headlock and as Gibson backs him into the rope Lee makes a blind tag to Carter who catches Gibson with a knee strike and then MSK delivers a rapid-fire kicking combination. Gibson pleads for MSK to stop but Carter grabs a knuckle lock and hits a lucha style arm drag. Carmelo Hayes tags himself and he catches Carter with an enziguri and a springboard clothesline and then he tags in Trick Williams and they take Carter down with a double shoulder block and then Williams assists Hayes in hitting a springboard leg drop.
Jensen tags himself in and gets slapped for talking trash and Jensen fires back with punches until he is caught and hit with a blow to the gut followed by a leaping clothesline. Hayes is tagged in and he rocks Jensen with a bicycle kick, but Jensen is still on his feet and when Hayes comes off the ropes he is caught with an inverted atomic drop and then he tags in Briggs where they proceed to knock Hayes down with a double flying shoulder tackle. Hayes tags Williams back in but he runs into a double big boot. Briggs and Jensen throw the Grizzled Young Veterans into the ring and they are running wild on both heel teams sending them out of the ring. Briggs tags in Lee so that he can dive out onto Hayes and Williams. Lee throws Williams back in the ring and makes the tag to Carter and this leads to MSK hitting their finisher which gets a 3 count and with that Carmelo Hayes & Trick WIlliams has been eliminated.
We come back from a commercial break to Wes Lee fighting out of the corner of The Grizzled Young Veterans and then tries to make a tag but Gibson grabs his wrist and pulls him in for a clothesline and then he knocks Carter off the apron. Gibson tags in James Drake and they hit Lee with a missile dropkick and flatliner combo for a 2 count. Gibson tags back in and they hit Lee with a double clothesline and then GYV continues to work over Lee until he stops himself off a whip attempt and finally finds a way to make the hot tag to Carter. Carter comes in on fire taking down both members of GYV as he hits Drake with a German suplex followed by a running knee in the corner. Carter hits a rolling snapmare followed by a penalty kick and a standing shooting star press for a 2 count when Gibson pulls Drake out of the ring. As GYV are regrouping on the outside Carter hits them with a moonsault off the top and then throws Drake back in the ring, but Gibson grabs the leg of Carter preventing him from getting back into the ring but he breaks lose but as he gets back in Drake pushes him into the ropes so he can make a blind tag to Gibson and as Drake shoots Carter into the ropes we see Briggs also makes a blind tag as well. GYV hit Carter with the Ticket to Mayhem, but Carter isn’t the legal guy and Gibson turns around and is met with a discus punch and then Briggs and Jensen hit Gibson with a chokeslam and sitout powerbomb combo which is enough to get the 3 count and Grizzled Young Veterans have been eliminated.
As we enter the final portion of the match it seems like Carter is too banged up so Lee starts out against Jensen and he lights him up with strikes but Jensen won’t go down and then he hits Lee with a back elbow. Jensen tags in Briggs and they hit Lee with a Russian leg sweep and big boot combo, but Lee kicks out at the very last second. Jensen tags back in and they hit Lee with a vicious double spinebuster and then they go for the powerbomb and chokeslam combo but Carter comes back in and takes Briggs out to the floor with a Cactus Jack clothesline. Lee reveres the powerbomb into a hurricanrana and that is enough to keep Jensen down for the 3 count and MSK has retained their NXT Tag Team Championships.
After the match, Briggs and Jensen grab the titles and after a moment of tension, they give the titles to MSK and then show them a sign of respect. MSK holds their titles high when all of a sudden Imperium attack them from behind and they layout MSK as Briggs and Jensen run back to the ring a little too late. Imperium retreat as Briggs and Jensen help MSK back to their feet and that is how the show comes to a close.
This was a really fun match and I have to say that after seeing more of them I am becoming a fan of Briggs and Jensen as a fun-loving ass-kicking hoss team and their finisher looks pretty vicious as well. It was pretty obvious that Hayes and Williams weren’t going to last long when they didn’t even have an entrance. It looks like coming out of this match we are getting two tag feuds as Briggs and Jensen will feud with Grizzled Young Veterans while MSK will feud with Imperium for the titles.
I thought this was a pretty eventful episode of NXT 2.0 as we got three debuts one of which I have taken quite a liking to. We also saw them start to build the card for Halloween Havoc with Ciampa vs Breakker being confirmed while Mandy vs Raquel and Imperium vs MSK are highly likely to be on the show. I also thought the main event and the Dunne vs O’Reilly matches were really good as well.
NXT UK Results
- Jinny w/ Joseph Conners def Emilia McKenzie – *¾
- Sam Gradwell def Mark Andrews – **½
- Noam Dar w/ Sha Samuels def Wolfgang w/ Gallus (Heritage Cup Championship #1 Contender Tournament Final) – ***¾
We open up the final episode of NXT UK without fans with a video hyping up the finals of the NXT Heritage Cup Championship #1 Contender Tournament which will see Wolfgang face off against Noam Dar.
The opening match is from the women’s division as Jinny takes on Emilia McKenzie.
The match starts with both women exchanging wristlocks and then and that is followed by an exchange of front face locks as both women try to gain control of the match. Jinny eventually takes Emilia down with a drop toe hold and ties up the legs, but Emilia fights back as she hits an arm drag, a dropkick, and a twisting neckbreaker. Emilia deadlifts Jinny back to her feet but is hit with a couple of back elbows and then she grabs the ropes to cause Emilia to go throat-first into the top rope. Jinny sends Emilia into the corner where she puts the boots to her and then she goes back to the arm as she takes her down with an arm wringer and then snaps back the arm. Jinny locks in an octopus hold which she transitions into a pin for a 2 count.
Jinny then takes Emilia down with a single leg and goes to work on the leg as she stomps on it and then locks in a half crab which is broken when Emilia gets to the ropes. Jinny looks to continue her attack in the corner but Emilia kicks her away and then we get a forearm exchange until Jinny hits Emilia with a knee to the gut and then looks to hit a ripcord move but Emilia breaks it and drops Jinny with a cutter. Emilia starts to make a comeback as she hits a back suplex, but then she gets distracted by Joseph Conners who is quickly taken out by the NXT UK Women’s Champion Meiko Satomura. Emilia ducks a forearm and hits a German suplex for a 2 count. Emilia hits a double underhook facebuster but somehow Jinny gets her shoulder up at the very last second. Emilia then charges at Jinny but she sidesteps and Emilia goes shoulder-first into the ring post and then Jinny hits the House of Couture to pick up the win.
After the match, Jinny gets on the mic and challenges Meiko to an NXT UK Women’s Championship match and Meiko raises her title high as a way of accepting the match.
I thought the first part of the match was a bit sloppy but it eventually picked up and wasn’t a total disaster of a match.
We see a video from earlier in the week where Blair Davenport met with Sid Scala and he tells her at the request of Stevie Turner she has been reinstated, but if something like what she did ever happens again it will not be tolerated. Blair says she will play by the rules but wants to make clear that she always gets what she wants.
Our second match of the night sees Mark Andrews take on Sam Gradwell after Gradwell messed up their graffiti backstage and then broke Andrews’ skateboard.
Gradwell takes control of the arm early on but Andrews comes back with a dropkick and an arm drag and then grounds him with an armbar, Gradwell gets back to his feet only to be hit with a chop which sends Gradwell charging at Andrews who catches Gradwell with a tiger feint kick to the midsection and then he catches Gradwell with a rope-assisted headscissors. Andrews slides under a clothesline attempt and catches Gradwell with a kick which sends him out to the floor where Andrews looks to dive out onto him but Gradwell moves out of the way and thankfully Andrews saw it coming and stopped himself. Andrews takes the attack to Gradwell outside the ring until he is caught and slammed on the floor. Gradwell throws Andrews back in the ring and lands some clubbing shots to the back which get him a 2 count.
Gradwell drives his knee and forearm into the back of Andrews and then grinds his fist into the side of Andrews’ face. Gradwell takes time to talk trash which gives Andrews a chance to make a comeback as he fires back with strikes and after struggling to escape a fireman’s carry in the corner he goes up top only to have his leg pulled out from under him sending him crashing to the mat. Gradwell hits a snap butterfly suplex and then grabs a reverse chinlock which he turns into a headlock but Andrews fights out of it and then he catches Gradwell with a DDT off the middle rope. Andrews tries to knock Gradwell down with a clothesline but he isn’t budging so he hits a wheelbarrow bulldog which drops the bigger opponent. Andrews lands a kick which causes Gradwell to double over and that allows Andrews to hit him with a double stomp to the back for a very close 2 count.
Gradwell grabs a leg of Andrews as he tries to run to the ropes and then he hits him with a brutal discus forearm for a 2 count. Gradwell takes Andrews back down to the mat for a minute but Andrews fights back once again as he slides under another discus forearm attempt but when he goes for a kick he is caught in a fireman’s carry which Gradwell botches as he falls on his face, but he recovers quickly and looks for the Samoan Driver, but Andrews turns it into the Stundog Millionaire, but Gradwell rolls to the floor before Andrews can cover him for the pin. Andrews hits Gradwell with a moonsault to the floor and then throws him back into the ring where he tries for a springboard but Andrews catches him and hits the Samoan Driver which is enough to keep Andrews down for the 3 count.
This was a pretty good match and I’m glad to see Gradwell picking up the win as he is a guy they should invest more in as he has a great look and can go in the ring as well he should definitely be a future challenger for Dragunov.
We go to the back where Flash Morgan Webster approaches Sha Samuels and slaps him and then runs off, so I guess we will get that match next week.
We get a hype video for Ilja Dragunov for the NXT UK Championship match happening next week.
It’s time for the main event as Wolfgang takes on Noam Dar in the finals of the NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship #1 Contender Tournament.
Round 1: After a bit of circling the ring to feel each other out we finally get Dar going for a headlock but Wolfgang immediately shoots him off into the ropes only to drop his head and get kicked by Dar. Dar sidesteps a charge and drops to all fours trying to trip up Wolfgang but he steps over and pulls Dar back to his feet, only for Dar to go back to a headlock which he uses to ground Wolfgang for a moment until he gets back to his feet and lifts Dar into the air and places him up on the top rope. Dar grabs the injured arm of Wolfgang in order to make him back up and then Dar gets back in the ring and starts to target the arm of Wolfgang until Wolfgang lands a shot to the gut and then he lifts Dar up for a powerbomb, but the clock for the first round hits zero before he can hit the move.
Round 2: The second round begins with Wolfgang blocking a punch and landing a forearm and then he looks to send Dar into the corner but Dar stops himself and hits Wolfgang with a running dropkick. Dar picks up Wolfgang which ends up being a mistake as Wolfgang picks him up and drives him into the corner where he fires away with a series of punches and then he sends Dar sternum-first into the corner followed by the running crossbody in the corner. Wolfgang comes off the top with an ax handle and this is enough to get Sha Samuels up on the apron and then we see Jordan Devlin attack Joe Coffey at ringside and while this is happening Samuels has Mark Coffey distracted. Joe and Devlin brawl to the back and while all of this has Wolfgang distracted we see Dar take advantage as he rolls up Wolfgang for the 3 count. Dar is the first to put a point on the scoreboard as we go into the third round.
Round 3: Wolfgang explodes out of the corner with a Spear and that gets him a quick 3 count and with that, the match is tied at 1-1.
Round 4: Dar asks for a timeout as the fourth round starts but when he realizes he isn’t going to get it he starts landing some kicks to the leg only to be knocked loopy with a forearm and then works over Dar in the corner. Wolfgang tries to send Dar into the corner but he stops himself and then crawls through Wolfgang’s legs and then takes a powder to the outside. Dar begs off as Wolfgang goes out to the floor but his pleading falls on deaf ears as Wolfgang throws him back in the ring, but as Wolfgang steps through the ropes he is caught with a kick which is followed by a running dropkick for a 2 count. Dar once again goes for the arm of Wolfgang but is hit with a shot to the gut and then Wolfgang hits Dar with another crossbody in the corner, but this time he is cut off when he goes up top and Dar lands some kicks to the chest which causes Wolfgang to fall to the floor. Dar goes out to the floor and looks to follow up on the attack but Wolfgang fights back and tries to throw Dar back in the ring, but Dar slides back out on the other side and when Wolfgang joins him back on the floor he tries for a kick but Wolfgang sidesteps which causes Dar to kicks the ring post but he is still able to sidestep when Wolfgang goes for a Spear causing Wolfgang to crash into the barricade as the round comes to an end.
During the break, we can see that Wolfgang further hurt his arm when he ran into the barricade.
Round 5: Wolfgang is hurting badly as the round starts and that allows Dar an opening to hit a running dropkick to the bad arm and then he puts the boots to him in the corner until Wolfgang pushes him away and staggers into another corner where Dar catches him with a couple of bicycle kick to the head which gets a 2 count. Wolfgang is slow to get to his feet but once he does Dar tries to a running attack but gets caught with a backbreaker for a 2 count. Wolfgang pulls Dar up and is perhaps looking for a suplex, but Dar grabs the bad arm and then kicks his leg out from under him. Dar grabs the arm to try and ground Wolfgang but it doesn’t work as Wolfgang looks to hit an inverted gutwrench suplex only for Dar to counter into a kneebar, Wolfgang tries to reach the ropes at first but then decides to just stand up which breaks the hold. Both men are exhausted but Dar finds a sprint of energy as he nails a discus elbow followed by an elbow to the top of the head. Dar sets up for the Nova Roller but as he charges in he is met with another Spear from Wolfgang, but as he covers Dar the referee counts to 2 and then the time runs out for the round.
During the break, we see that this time it is Dar who needs help from Sha Samuels to get back to his feet while Wolfgang stands solid in the middle of the ring and doesn’t even need a rest.
Round 6: Dar starts the round out by dodging punches from Wolfgang while he lands kicks and forearms which don’t even phase Wolfgang as he hits Dar with a capture suplex and then tries for a running kick, but Dar sidesteps sending Wolfgang’s leg through the middle rope and then dar kicks his other leg out from under him. Wolfgang has his leg laying on the middle rope as Dar comes off the top with a double stomp onto the leg and then he charges at Wolfgang but is caught with a clothesline out of desperation which gets a 2 count. Wolfgang lifts Dar off the mat and Dar tries for a quick schoolboy but Wolfgang kicks out, so Dar hits him with a step up elbow to the head followed by a kick to the head. Dar hits Wolfgang with the Nova Roller but when he sees Wolfgang still trying to get up he hits him with a second one and that is finally enough to put the big man down for the 3 count.
I really enjoyed this match and I’m glad to see the tournament have a really good finals match. I thought they could’ve saved the stuff between Jordan Devlin and Joe Coffey until later, but at least they did it early in the match and it didn’t take away from the finish. I liked how they tied the match early and still went to the sixth round trying to score that second point and while I am speaking about the early tie I also have to talk about how I liked the third round lasting just a few seconds. I am sure that the Dar vs Bate match for the NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship will be a really good match as well as they faced each other during WrestleMania weekend and I really enjoyed it.
This was a really good final episode of NXT UK without fans as the main event carried most of the show but I thought Gradwell vs Andrews was a good match as well and on top of that, we saw Blair Davenport reinstated to further the story she has going on. As great as this show was I am looking forward to next week when we finally have fans back and are getting what could be a potential classic between Ilja Dragunov and A-Kid for the NXT UK Championship.
- Sami Zayn def Rey Mysterio (King of the Ring Tournament Quarterfinal Match) – ***
- Zelina Vega def Toni Storm (Queen’s Crown Tournament Quarterfinal Match) – **
- Liv Morgan def Carmella (Queen’s Crown Tournament Quarterfinals Match) – *½
- Finn Balor def Cesaro (King of the Ring Tournament Quarterfinal Match) – ***½
We kick off the season premiere of SmackDown with a contract signing for the triple threat match at Crown Jewel, but as the show opens we see that Bianca is in the ring, Sasha is standing on the commentary table, and Becky has her own table set up on the ramp, We get some back and forth banter between the three women with the most notable thing being that Bianca said she was the center of this feud as this has been her year and both Sasha and Becky are trying to ride her coattails. Bianca says that since they both want to sneak attack her why don’t they just throw down right now as she is ready and then she throws one of the rolling chairs out of the ring which leads to Becky flipping over her table and while Bianca is distracted by this we see Sasha attack her from behind. Becky and Sasha team up on Bianca before turning on each other but Bianca makes a comeback as she lifts them both up for the K.O.D. but Sasha slides off so Bianca spins Becky around causing Becky’s feet to hit Sasha and lay her out on the contract signing table and then Bianca hits the K.O.D. on Becky sending both her and Sasha through the table. The segment ends with the contract not being signed, but later in the night we see Becky in the office of Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville and she is ranting and raving about the match at Crown Jewel until Sonya plays into her ego and this finally gets Becky to sign the contract and thus we are ⅓ of the way to making this match “official” and then Becky hits Pearce in the nuts as she gives him the contract folder back.
I thought this was a good way to start out the show as all three women delivered on the mic and the K.O.D. spot through the table was a great way to put Bianca over in this segment. I’m guessing unless we just get an exchange of titles between Charlotte and Becky we could be in for another title reign for “The Boss” Sasha Banks seeing as she is the only one of the three to be drafted to SmackDown and then somehow they get the Raw Women’s Championship off Charlotte and onto Bianca or Becky, confusion like this is why they should’ve done the draft immediately after Crown Jewel, not three weeks before it.
Our first match of the night sees Rey Mysterio taking on Sami Zayn in a King of the Ring Quarterfinal match, but before the match, we saw Dominik tell Rey he is going to hang back and just watch the match. After Rey makes his entrance we see Sami Zayn approach Dominik and he tells him that he is doing the right thing by hanging back and then Zayn tells Dominik that he is better than his dad. Mysterio and Zayn are having a good match but when Rey is out on the floor in pain we see Dominik come down to check on his dad and this would eventually play into the finish. Zayn ends up taking the pad off the turnbuckle and when Dominik goes to fix it Rey sees him and starts yelling at him to get down off the apron despite Dominik trying to tell him what happened, Zayn sees this as an open opportunity as he shoves Rey into Dominik knocking him to the floor and then rolls Rey up with a schoolboy to get the win. After the match, Rey looks at Dominik in disappointment while Zayn tries on the cape and crown up by the stage.
I was really enjoying this match and while watching it I had to remind myself that Rey Mysterio is in his 40’s as he still moves around just as well as he did when he was still in his 20’s. I really wish this match could’ve gotten a clean finish without all the involvement of Dominik. I wonder who will replace Zayn as the devil on Dominik’s shoulder once The Mysterios go over to Raw, I like the idea that Ryan Gray and Logan Crosland talked about on their Draft recap podcast as they said it would be cool if they paired him with Zelina Vega, especially since Rey already has a history with Zelina from his days feuding with Andrade.
We get a recap of the Edge vs Rollins feud including Rollins invading Edge’s privacy last week by entering his house uninvited. We then go to an interview with Rollins where he talks about how people are pissed at him for what he did last week but consider that he has been ridiculed and embarrassed for weeks but he was still able to beat Edge at MSG in a sanctioned match using a legal move but he isn’t even celebrated for that, in fact, he is called a monster for what he did. Rollins says that he just did what any sane man would do when he doesn’t get an answer which is to go to that person’s house and find that answer. He then tells Kayla he doesn’t know why he is telling her all of this as she has no power to do anything, so he’s going to find someone who can. Later on, we see Rollins in the office of Pearce and Deville and he asks them if Edge is going to be there tonight and then says he is going to go to the ring at the end of the night and if Edge doesn’t come out it will be their fault and the show won’t end very well. Rollins then tells them that if they see Edge before he does be sure to give him this back and then he pulls out a picture of Edge and Beth Phoenix.
We got the first two Queen’s Cup Quarterfinal matches as we saw Zelina Vega beat Toni Storm and Carmella beat Liv Morgan. I don’t understand how and why WWE messes up even the simplest booking decisions, why do you have two women who have been booked like complete jokes that have lost numerous times over the past few months go over two women who are clear as day future stars for your company and I’m not even saying that either should’ve won the tournament, but they should’ve at least made it to the semi-finals over two women who have been jobbing all year. I want to make clear that I am not downplaying or disrespecting either Zelina or Carmella as I enjoy them both and think they are both highly talented in every way possible, but based on the way they have been booked there was no reason for either of them to win. I find it frustrating that they lose all year and then as soon as something like this tournament comes up they decide to finally let them both pick up wins, why couldn’t they have been doing that the entire time?
I’ll admit that I wasn’t even that mad when Zelina won as she needs wins just as much as Toni and Liv because she hasn’t had the chance to prove herself yet either. We have seen Carmella in the spotlight before so she has had her time to shine already, so I thought for sure her feud with Liv was to build up Liv so that she could have a big push to win this tournament but I guess I was wrong and now who knows how long we will have to wait until Liv gets that push that she rightfully deserves. What makes the Carmella win even worse is this is not even a version of Carmella’s character that I like as I think the whole mask thing is stupid and makes no sense as to why would someone as vain as her want to hide her entire face from the crowd, they should’ve just had her wear the see-through mask like the one Cody Rhodes had during his delusional broken face gimmick in 2011. I want the fun-loving “Mell is Money” version of Carmella back as I enjoyed that version of her a whole lot more than this “Most Beautiful Woman in the WWE” character. While I am very mad at what happened tonight I do think there is a slight chance something happens to bring Liv back in the tournament as it seems weird that they are having a heel vs heel match in the semi-finals.
It’s pretty bad that they decide not to use Toni for months and then when they do decide to use her they have her lose and to make it even worse they have labeled her with a stupid one-dimensional nickname of “The Wild Child of the 80’s”. I just don’t see how they don’t push this girl to the moon as she is uber charismatic, can cut a good promo, is gorgeous, and can have good matches with anyone she truly is the complete package, and yet she can’t even get on TV and with Charlotte now on SmackDown, I don’t expect to see any kind of monumental push for Toni for quite a while, the best I can hope for her is if they team her with Shotzi as the rocker/heavy metal tag team, but given how Nox and Shotzi were treated even that isn’t a guaranteed way of getting her time on TV on a weekly basis.
One other thing that seems to be a problem with the women is that unless you are a Horsewoman or feuding with one of them you are not allowed to get a match longer than five minutes as both matches on this show combined were less than five minutes and if you ask me that is a major step backward and it would be nice if all the women who were talented enough got treated equally rather than having the Horsewomen above all the other, yes they have done a fantastic job of being the pillars of the division when there weren’t as many talented women on the roster but now WWE have talented women coming out of their ass and yet most of them don’t even get a chance to truly showcase that talent and that is just frustrating, disappointing, and overall just sad.
The Bloodline comes to the ring and Reigns thanks Paul Heyman for making sure The Usos were drafted to Raw and then he tells Heyman that he and The Usos love him and Heyman says that he loves them as well. Reigns says that Heyman is the wise man and he wants him to be the wise man right now as he wants Heyman to tell the truth about the whole Brock Lesnar situation. Heyman starts talking about how this puts him in a terrible spot as it’s going to sound like he is spinning his story no matter what he says and at that time Reigns grabs Heyman by the chin and gently lifts his head as he wants Heyman to look him in the eyes. Heyman then starts making a point instead of just random babbling as he says he is not a stupid man and that him pulling a scheme to try and have Lesnar dethrone Reigns for the title would be stupid. Heyman says that Lesnar can’t stand that the Conquerer will be conquered by Roman Reigns. Reigns then tells Heyman not to tell him, he wants Heyman to look into the camera and tell Brock Lesnar and that is just what he does as he tells Lesnar he has met his match in Reigns and after Crown Jewel, the winner will be the reigning, defending, WWE Universal Champion and Lesnar’s Tribal Chief Roman Reigns. The segment closes with Heyman on his knees praising Reigns while he holds the championship high in the air.
This was a really good segment which is nothing new for The Bloodline as everything they do is always great and Heyman on the mic is always certified gold and I am intrigued how this ends up going for him, will he stay with Reigns or will he indeed turn on him and go back to being with Brock Lesnar after SummerSlam?
Mace actually gets an interview on the show which I wasn’t expecting as I thought he would be someone they forget about for months. Mace says there is no competition for him as nobody can match his strength, aggression, and disposition to dominate. All he sees is prey and he is coming to annihilate.
We get a Happy Talk segment that sees Madcap Moss make a bad joke and then Kevin Owens runs down where he gets beat down by the both of them and I could care less about what Corbin or Moss do but I do hope KO has a better feud waiting for him on Raw.
Naomi walks up to Sonya Deville and wants to know why she wasn’t in the Queen’s Crown Tournament and Sonya tells her she didn’t think she was good enough and Adam Pearce clearly doesn’t agree with Sonya, but he doesn’t say anything. Sonya tells her she has a match next week and when Naomi asks against who Sonya says it is against her which makes Naomi happy as she walks off. While I do hope we get Sonya back in the ring next week I have a feeling it won’t end up happening as Sonya will get someone to attack Naomi or she will find some excuse not to have the match.
In our match of the night, we get Finn Balor beating Cesaro in the other King of the Ring Quarterfinal match of the evening and it really is a shame that either man had to lose this match as they both would’ve been great choices for the King of the Ring, but given that we just had Balor facing Reigns it was pretty predictable that he would pick up the win. So next week we will see Sami Zayn take on Finn Balor in the semi-finals and while I could be wrong seeing that it is WWE, I do think we are going to see Balor in the finals. I have to question why Nakamura wasn’t in this tournament over Jinder Mahal as he has his crown taken from him and doesn’t even get a chance to win it back.
We are told that next week will be a super-sized episode of SmackDown which will be airing on FS1. It will have a run time of 2 ½ hours and will feature an appearance by Brock Lesnar, a Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch match, and the semi-finals of both the King of the Ring (Zayn vs Balor) and the Queen’s Crown (Zelina vs Carmella) tournaments.
In the last segment of the night, we see Seth Rollins comes to the ring as promised and he begs for Edge to come out saying that Edge can choose whatever kind of match he wants and when that doesn’t get Edge to appear he starts berating him as he asks what happened to the Rated-R Superstar and the Ultimate Opportunist and then says he ended that Edge when he stomped his head in at MSG. Rollins then resorts to saying that by Edge not coming out he is becoming a disappointment to the fans and to his family and how his daughters will no longer look at him as an inspiration but rather a disappointment. We then cut to the video screen where we see that Edge has finally arrived and he storms to the ring hitting Rollins with a Spear immediately. Edge breaks off a piece of the chair and goes for the crossface, but Rollins is able to escape before the worst can happen. Edge grabs the mic and tells Rollins he wants him inside of a HELL IN A CELL!!!
I thought this was a really good way to end the show and damn it as much as I don’t want to get excited for Crown Jewel or any Saudi show they find a way to lure me in every time and this announcement of Hell in a Cell is the one that catches my eye and makes me a lot more interested in the show as I’m sure Rollins and Edge are going to put on one hell of a match. For the first time since WrestleMania XXVIII we actually have a feud that has been built up to where they need the blowoff to be inside a Hell in a Cell rather than needing a match to fill a show that has to have a Hell in a Cell match.
This was a rough episode of SmackDown for me personally as I thought both the opening and closing segments were great as was the Bloodline promo and two King of the Ring tournament matches, but the Queen’s Crown tournament matches left such a bad taste in my mouth that all of the good on this show can’t make up for my anger and frustration with this episode.
In the News
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, NXT UK will once again have fans in attendance during their next set of tapings which are happening this week which means the 10/14 episode of NXT UK will finally have the return of fans. It should be noted that tickets weren’t sold for these tapings as those attending will be special guests that were pre-selected. NXT UK will continue to tape shows at the BT Sports Studio for the foreseeable future. It will be nice to finally have fans back for NXT UK as they have their own unique way of showing appreciation to the action they are seeing in the ring and that is sure to liven up these NXT UK shows and it doesn’t hurt that they are getting an NXT Championship match on the first show between Ilja Dragunov and A-Kid.
PW Insider reports that many of the draft picks that happened on Talking Smack found out they were switching shows via social media rather than being contacted by someone within the company.
Dave Meltzer reports that Goldberg has a specific deal with the Saudi shows and if they match against Lashley didn’t happen at Crown Jewel it would cost him millions.
There is talk that Walter could be used more outside of NXT UK and as of Tuesday, he is said to be in the states.
PW Insider reports that WWE was thinking about splitting up The Sreet Profits in the draft as Montez Ford would’ve gone to Raw, but they thought twice and decided to just split Mace & T-Bar instead because I guess they have a quota to fill when it comes to splitting up tag teams.
Ringside news claims that Braun Strowman’s representatives have talked with WWE since his release and supposedly his future plans should be revealed soon.
Andrew Zarian reports that WWE is aware that fans see their Saudi Arabia shows as nothing more as extravagant house shows that are not in canon with the rest of their shows, but they are wanting to change that with this year’s Crown Jewel as the show is likely to impact TV storylines.
Drew McIntyre is once again talking about how he wants a match against Tyson Fury and would prefer it to take place at the UK PPV happening next year.
A source told Andrew Zarian that there is some disappointment with the recent NXT 2.0 demo numbers as they are wanting to attract new viewers with the NXT 2.0 brand but recent ratings show that the median age of the viewers for this week was 62 years old, those sources hope this is just a bump in the road.
Dave Meltzer reports that Alberto Del Rio has been telling people that he will be going back to WWE once his legal issues are cleared up, but Meltzer doesn’t believe this claim and would be shocked if Del Rio returned to WWE.
A source told Fightul that WWE’s performance on Peacock is doing extremely well with more people watching WWE PPVs than anytime before.
Davey Boy Smith Jr has signed a contract with WWE, but the reason he hasn’t been used yet is that he caught COVID but as of last week he is back to being healthy and was at last week’s SmackDown show. I have to think that Davey would become a part of the SmackDown roster and could possibly be paired with Natalya, if that happens then it makes more sense why they broke up her and Tamina.
PW Insider reports that former WWE talent Ken Doane (Kenny Dykstra) is now coaching at the WWE Performance Center and that is not the only new coach to join the PC as Allison Danger has also joined the team. Danger joining the PC as a coach is a great addition as she is one
Coming up this Week
- Big E and Drew McIntyre Face to Face
- Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch
- Kofi Kingston vs Jinder Mahal (King of the Ring Tournament Quarterfinal Match)
- Xavier Woods vs Ricochet (King of the Ring Tournament Quarterfinal Match)
- Doudrop vs Natalya (Queen’s Crown Tournament Quarterfinal Match)
- Dana Brooke vs Shayna Baszler (Queen’s Crown Tournament Quarterfinal Match)
- Isaiah Scott © w/ Hit Row vs Santos Escobar w/ Legado del Fantasma (NXT North American Championship)
- Tommaso Ciampa vs Joe Gacy (If Gacy wins he is added to Halloween Havoc NXT Championship match)
- Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner vs Pete Dunne & Ridge Holland
- Ilja Dragunov © vs A-Kid (NXT UK Championship)
- Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks
- Carmella vs Zelina Vega (Queen’s Crown Tournament Semi-Final Match)
- Sami Zayn vs Finn Balor (King of the Ring Tournament Semi-Final Match)
- Naomi vs Sonya Deville
- Appearance by Brock Lesnar